Churchill Downs Unveils Artwork for Kentucky Derby 136 by Internationally Acclaimed French Artist Linda Le Kinff

Nov 13, 2009 Darren Rogers

A bold and colorful painting by internationally acclaimed French artist Linda Le Kinff was unveiled Friday, Nov. 13 at Churchill Downs as the official artwork of the 2010 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks. The focal point of the vibrant work, which showcases exquisite line quality, is the world famous Kentucky Derby winner’s circle.

Officials from Churchill Downs and JettStream Productions, which is in its ninth year as the official licensee of the “Art of the Kentucky Derby” series, joined Le Kinff at the historic racetrack to formally unveil the work that will appear on posters, prints, tickets, racing programs and officially licensed product for the 2010 Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.

The 136th runnings of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby are scheduled for Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1, respectively.

The commission of Le Kinff as “The 2010 Official Artist of the Kentucky Derby” marks a significant apex in the collection of prestigious artists who have lent their interpretations of America’s greatest race.

In Le Kinff’s Kentucky Derby image, a sense of energy and graceful line merge to commemorate the 2010 Kentucky Derby winner’s circle. Her fashion acumen bursts onto the canvas with ladies hats festooned with jewel-toned feathers, rich fabrics and bright spring flowers. A well-heeled gentleman sports a silk tie adorned with a festive Fleur de Lis. The winning Thoroughbred stands posed to enter the winner’s circle as admiring fans wait to celebrate the crowning moment.

In conjunction with the unveiling, it was announced that the new “Art of the Kentucky Derby” merchandise, including posters and prints, is available for purchase on-track in The Churchill Downs Store and online at Those items will also be available for purchase at select retailers throughout the region during the holiday shopping season.

Also, posters and prints will be available for purchase during Saturday’s inaugural Boutique Bazaar and Warehouse Sale, which helps commemorate “Ladies’ Weekend” at Churchill Downs. Approximately 15 Louisville-area boutiques – including Clodhoppers, Dressing Room, Peacock Boutique and General Eccentric – will be on hand during the races in the newly refurbished Paddock Pavilion for a sure-to-be fabulous warehouse sale of discounted ladies fashion, accessories and hostess gifts. The one-stop shop haven is free to attend with paid general admission from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will also feature a Chambord and Champagne cocktail sample and an appearance by Brown-Forman’s Chief Entertainment Officer Tim Laird with demonstrations of unique signature cocktails. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Kentucky Derby Museum.

Elements of Le Kinff’s beloved masters permeate her highly original visions, recalling essences of Lautrec, Matisse and Modigliani. Her body of work, however, stands on its own.

Le Kinff was born in Paris, France from French and Brazilian parents. Her painting career began at age 20 and her artistic pursuits led to a 12-year stay in Italy to learn the ancient techniques of tempera, egg painting and the gold leaf method taught by masters in Florence and Liverno. Both the Kentucky Derby and Oaks paintings are embellished with these golden accents.

Le Kinff works without a model and her inspiration comes from extensive travels, her dreams and imagination. Her subjects are diverse and include musical scenes and couples elegantly dressed often for a night on the town.

In 1998, Le Kniff was selected as “The Official Artist of the World Cup” in which she created a painting for the international soccer championship that was minted into a commemorative coin by the French government – an honor never before offered to a living French artist.

Le Kinff’s exhibitions are vast and truly international. Over the past two years, her works were exhibited in London, Hong Kong, Dubai, Berlin and the Salon of The Louvre Carrousel as well as numerous shows throughout France. Her serigraphs are represented in the United States and Canada by Park West Gallery. In 2010, the city of Paris will acquire a Le Kinff sculpture and her work will be exhibited at the 2010 World’s Fair in Shanghai, China.

Le Kinff’s selection as “The 2010 Official Artist of the Kentucky Derby” furthers a local French connection. The city of Louisville – the home of Churchill Downs since 1875 – has a rich foundation of French-related history, starting foremost with its name which comes from King Louis XVI. The ubiquitous Fleur De Lis can be found all around Louisville, from the city’s flag to the opulent Victorian mansions of Old Louisville to colorful jockey silks and beyond. Additionally, Montpellier, France is Louisville’s “sister city”.   

Other artists and illustrators of national and world renown whose work has been procured for the “Art of the Kentucky Derby” series include legendary singer Tony Bennett (2001); Gary Kelley (2002); Laura Smith (2003); Francis Livingston (2004); Bart Forbes (2005); Dennis Ziemienski (2006 Kentucky Derby); Erica Nordena (2006 Kentucky Oaks); Misha Lenn (2007); Trish Biddle (2008); and Jeff Williams (2009). Other past “official” Kentucky Derby artists include Leroy Neimann, Peter Max, Boguslaw Lustyk and Peter Williams.

    Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 1, 2010. The track will conduct its 2009 Fall Meet from Sunday, Nov. 1 through Saturday, Nov. 28. Churchill Downs is scheduled to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for a record seventh time on Nov. 5 and 6, 2010. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at

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